Penstemon gracilis Nutt.
slender penstemon (lilac penstemon)
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)
(Previously in Scrophulariaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Jamie Fenneman     (Photo ID #3854)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Penstemon gracilis
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Species Information

Perennial herb from a short, unbranched, underground stem-base; stems 1 to few, clumped, ascending to erect, 15-40 cm tall, glandular-hairy in the inflorescence, otherwise smooth or minutely hairy below.
Basal and lowermost stem leaves short-stalked, lanceolate or elliptic, to 12 cm long, often with scattered short teeth, sometimes poorly developed and usually soon withering; stem leaves opposite, unstalked or nearly so, linear-lanceolate, 2-10 cm long, mostly minutely toothed, smooth.
Inflorescence a terminal, relatively slender cluster of several whorls of few stalked flowers, the stalks glandular-hairy; corollas tubular, 1.5-2.3 cm long, lilac or whitish, strongly 2-lipped, glandular-hairy on the outside, hairy at the throat and whitish within; calyces 4-7 mm long, 5-lobed, the lobes lanceolate to egg-shaped, with or without papery margins, glandular-hairy; fertile stamens 4, the anthers smooth except for the minutely bristle-toothed sutures; sterile stamen gradually expanded toward the tip, yellow-bearded for much of its length.
Capsules, 4-8 mm long; seeds numerous, less than 1 mm long.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


Ecological Framework for Penstemon gracilis

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
1097 360 2330
Slope Gradient (%)
14 0 40

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

292 226 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 3 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

ICH(2), IDF(1)

Habitat and Range

Dry to moist, sandy or rocky grasslands; rare in NE BC, known only from the Peace River area; E to ON and S to IN, IL, NE and NM.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Penstemon glaucus Graham